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-   -   Itinerary Feedback (Spain/Italy in April/May) (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/itinerary-feedback-spain-italy-in-april-may-1008373/)

pittsburgh Mar 13th, 2014 06:58 AM

Itinerary Feedback (Spain/Italy in April/May)
 
We are planning a month-long trip to Spain in Italy in late April/May. Trip will be myself, my wife, and our 18 month old. We assume we start in Barcelona and end in Milan since that is the best way to score some cheap frequent flyer miler tickets.

General theme is hit cities in Spain and stay away from the cities in Italy.

Our current plan:
- 5 nights in Barcelona (give the little one time to get somewhat acclimated to the time)
- Train to Valencia. 3 nights in Valencia
- Plane to Seville. 4 nights in Seville
- Train to Granada. 3 nights in Granada.
- Train to Malaga. 2 nights in Malaga.
- Plane to Rome. Rent a car. Drive to Montepulciano. 3 nights in Montepulciano.
- Drive to area north of Florence (Vicchio area -- looking to stay at Villa Campestri). 5 nights.
- Drive to Reggio Emilia. Use as base for day trips to Parma/Bologna. 3 nights
- Drive to Milan. Fly home.

Thoughts?

CathyM Mar 13th, 2014 07:17 AM

As far as the Spanish portion goes it's moderately paced and looks good. My only concern would be how well the toddler travels. If he/she is a good traveler then this isnt' a bad pace. A little more fast paced in the middle when you have 3 nights Granada, then 2 nights Malaga, then 3 nights in Montepulciano but it's definately doable especially with the travel time between Granada and Malaga isn't much. Bus is the way to go from Granda to Malaga vs train. I'd try to do a daytrip to Cordoba from Sevilla if you have time. If I could add a day anywhere it would be to Sevilla. It's a beautiful city and late April/early May is very nice. There are lots of daytrip possibilities (Cordoba #1). If your trip is during the Feria (Spring fair) May 5-10 in 2014 you may find hotels/apartments in high demand and at a premium price. But it's also a wonderful experience.

bobthenavigator Mar 13th, 2014 07:17 AM

Very nice trip---I am envious!

My only comment is that MP is relly steep walking for a toddler. Look at San Quirico.

PalenQ Mar 13th, 2014 10:44 AM

For lots on Spanish trains check out www.seat61.com - good info on discounted tickets from renfe.com, a site that can be very flummoxing for many novice users - some say www.petrabax.com (sp?) is a U S agent offering similar prices with a minor handling fee - not sure about it myself - and for general info check www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetrave.com.

I believe there is also an overnight train between Valencia and Seville - a really nice night train - save travel time even over flying and of course a night in a hotel cost.

pittsburgh Mar 17th, 2014 10:10 AM

Thanks for the feedback.
The only trains that I have found from Valencia-Seville are via Madrid and don't seem like good overnight alternatives. And fares for that route on Iberia seem pretty cheap right now, so that is our likely choice.

On Montepulciano, I have been getting mixed feedback on whether it is a good town to visit or is it overrun with tourists. Thoughts?

And for renting a car, are we better off renting at FCO or taking a train to a smaller town and getting a car there?

bobthenavigator Mar 17th, 2014 11:31 AM

MP is a town of 14,ooo people and quite nice but also quite steep. I would prefer closer to the Val d,Orcia--perhaps Pienza or San Quirico---both are flat and much smaller.

PalenQ Mar 17th, 2014 12:28 PM

I could not find any night trains either from Valencia to Madrid - I did take one several years ago from Granada to Valencia.

pittsburgh Apr 22nd, 2014 10:30 PM

We finalized our itinerary as:
- 5 nights in Barcelona
- Train to Valencia. 3 nights in Valencia
- Plane to Seville. 4 nights in Seville
- Train to Granada. 3 nights in Granada.
- Train to Malaga. 2 nights in Malaga.
- Plane to Rome. Rent a car. Drive to Montalcino. 4 nights in Monalcino
- Drive to area north of Florence (Vicchio area -- looking to stay at Villa Campestri). 4 nights.
- Drive to Reggio Emilia. Use as base for day trips to Parma/Bologna. 3 nights
- Drive to Milan. Fly home.

Now the big question we have is car seat or no car seat. We clearly need a car seat in Italy but could rent one with our rental car. The alternative is lugging that around with the rest of our gear (2 suitcases, 2 carry-ones, 1 stroller, 1 child). Neither option seems especially attractive. Opinions?

bobthenavigator Apr 23rd, 2014 06:23 AM

Get it from your car vendor--a common thing.

PalenQ Apr 23rd, 2014 09:34 AM

In Spain I believe the law says you must, if your driver's license requires you to wear glasses have a spare pair of spectacles in the car at all times - I understand spot check for various things may include this.

Caveat emptor!


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